Woman of the Century/Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
RITCHIE, Mrs. Anna Cora Mowatt, author and actor, born in Bordeaux, France, in 1819, and died in London, Eng., 28th July, 1870. She was the daughter of Samuel Gouverneur Ogden, a New York merchant, who was living temporarily in France at the time of her birth. She was the tenth in a family of seventeen children. She lived near Bordeaux until 1826, when the family returned to New York City. Cora entered school. At the age of fourteen she won the affection of James Mowatt, a young lawyer, who persuaded her to marry him that he might superintend her studies. Her parents approved the engagement, and stipulated that the union should be postponed until she was seventeen years old. ANNA CORA MOWATT RITCHIE. The young lovers were secretly married, and the parents soon forgave them. For two years Mrs. Mowatt studied diligently, and in 1836 she published her "Pelayo, or the Cavern of Covadonga," under the name Isabel." That poetical romance elicited adverse criticism, and she replied to her critics in "Reviewers Reviewed," a satirical effusion, in 1837. Her health became impaired, and she went to Europe to recuperate. There, in 1840, she wrote her drama, "Gulzara, the Persian Slave," which was played after her return to New York City. Mr. Mowatt suffered financial reverses, and Mrs. Mowatt gave a series of dramatic readings in Boston, New York and Providence in 1841. Ill health forced her to leave the stage. Mr. Mowatt entered business as a publisher, and she returned to literature. Under the pen-name "Helen Berkley" she wrote a series of stories for the magazines that were widely read, translated into German and republished in London. Her play, "Fashion, a Comedy," was a success in New York and Boston, and, when her husband failed a second time in business, she decided to go on the stage. On 13th June, 1845, she appeared as Pauline in "The Lady of Lyons," and was successful. In 1847 she wrote another play, "Armand, or the Peer and the Peasant," which was well received. She then went to England, in company with Edward L. Davenport, and on 5th January, 1848, she made her debut in London in "The Hunchback." She returned to New York in 1851. Her husband died in that year. She remained on the stage until 3rd June, 1854. On 7th June, 1854, she became the wife of William F. Ritchie, of Richmond, Va. In 1860 she was recalled to New York to attend her father in his last illness. Her health was impaired, and after her father's death she went to Europe, where she spent the time with relatives in Paris, Rome and Florence. Her second husband died in 1868. and she went again to England, where she remained till her death. Her other works include: "The Fortune Hunter," a novel (1842); "Evelyn, or a Heart Unmasked: a Tale of Domestic Life" (two volumes, Philadelphia. 1845, and London, 1850); "The Autobiography of an Actress: or Eight Years on the Stage" (Boston, 1854); "Mimic Life: or Before and Behind the Curtain" (1855); "Twin Roses" (1857); "Fairy Fingers, a Novel" (New York, 1865); "The Mute Singer, a Novel" (1866), and "The Clergyman's Wife, and Other Sketches" (1867).